Canadian police ads pulled from U.S. gang Web sites

Reuters, Mon Feb 19 22:53:21 UTC 2007

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have pulled online job recruitment advertisements that mistakenly appeared on Web sites with links to a prominent U.S. street gang.

Canada’s renowned police force removed the ads after it learned the RCMP brand appeared alongside “inappropriate material that belonged to the 18th Street Gang,” Sgt. Martin Blais, a media spokesman for the Mounties in Ottawa, said on Monday.

“It was extremely inappropriate — poor language, everything you can imagine,” he said without providing further details.

The Mounties responded after being alerted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. late last week that its recruitment ads ran on Web sites run by the notorious 18th Street Gang, a Los Angeles-based group thought to be one of the largest and most violent gangs in the world.

On one message board, violent messages and death threats to gang rivals appeared as if they were endorsed by an RCMP logo that invited youths to apply to the force, the CBC reported.

At the top of another page on a different site, a banner ad of a smiling female Mountie showed up above a dedication to slain gang member “L’il Creeper,” the broadcaster said.

Blais said the ads — which were supposed to target youths frequenting entertainment Web sites — were on the gang-related sites for about 46 hours and popped up about 62,000 times.

While the Mounties made efforts to ensure the ads did not go on sites that contravene its “core values,” the Internet company Lycos placed the ads by mistake, added Blais.

“We have strict values that we operate by and we want to make sure those values are reflected in the materials we’re providing to the youth community,” he said.

“We don’t want any association with violence and death threats and stuff like that — no.”

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